How to Build Your Author Platform Using a Facebook Group

Building Your Platform Using a Facebook Group

Building Your Platform Using a Facebook Group, slides for the videos

I am working on a quick little course as part of the Small Product Lab 10 challenge. WEEEEEE. I am getting there and trying to keep up. One of the points they talk about is getting exposure and pushing your content out to the world. So ok, below is the outline for my course which I should be makeing into videos shortly. #SmallProductLab #SPLDay5

How To Build Your Author Platform Using a Facebook Group, On-Line Course

What is an Author Platform?
• Intro
• All the points of connection that you have with the world
• All your followers, social media, Factbook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
• Customers, people who gave you money, bought your products
• Email list
• Event attendees, co-workers and family
• Members of associations or organizations that you belong to

Why is an Author Platform Important?
• These are the people that buy your books and products
• They hire you to speak at their events
• They give you reviews on Amazon
• They will spread your story and become your champions

Why Use a Facebook Public Group?
• Easy to set up
• Huge global audience
• Widely accepted
• People can discover and get to know you without to much engagement
• Easy to connect, speed to connecion, different levels of connection
• Easy for your fans to post and participate in your group and community
• Easy to share content, images, videos and files
• Easy to build your community

How to Make a Facebook Public Group
• Select a good name, search on group names, keywords, rolls off the tongue
• Go for the topic instead of your name, be the expert in your topic

• Step-by-Step setup
• Select your banner images, basic rules
• Banner file size 851 pixels x 315 pixels
• Preload your group with your own members and friends
• How to make a post
• Posting images, videos, files

How to Manage Your Facebook Group
• Thank all new members for joining
• Engagement and building your community
• Strategies for dealing with fans
• Setting rules and guidelines
• Enforcing your rules, kicking people out of your group
• Asking and answering questions, polls
• Introducing your projects and services, consulting
• Selling without selling

How to Create Content Quickly
• Write posts, create videos
• Answer questions
• Let the content come to you, notice what is going by in the stream of life
• Set up Google Alerts, review results, select and repost
• Subscribe to subject matter blogs and websites with newsletters and emails
• Subject matter forums
• Search and repost videos
• Encourage members to post, respond and contribute to each post

Build and Promote Your Group
• Promote everywhere
• Mention in your videos, your social media, and blog posts
• On your website set up a direct link button
• Add to your email signature

Building Your Platform
• Build your presence by highlighting your expertise
• Connect and build community
• Move people from your group to your website to your email list
• Gain Exposure

Bruce Speaks to Thailand with the Video Workshop

I recently gave a presentation to students in Thailand over Skype for the Video Workshop with Bill Gentile, I talked about what you do after you have produced a video. This information also applies to your book. What do you do after you have published your book, how can you make more money with it, get more exposure, build more awareness. I am a co-producer of the online version of the Video Workshop with Bill Gentile and a regular participant in the live workshops, which are now held around the world. It was a great experience, my first with a translator. Bill produced a short piece on the session.

Bill Gentile wrote this about the experience and the talk
BANGKOK, Thailand, 15 December 2014 – So you’ve finished your video. Now, what do you do with it? How do you get it out there, in front of people, so it can have an impact? To answer these questions, I Skyped designer and Internet marketer Bruce Jones into the third day of our workshop in Bangkok.

Bruce attended my first ever Video Workshop in 2008. And we’ve collaborated ever since. He’s been a regular participant in my Video Workshops, either in person or via Skype. He produced my Essential Video Journalism Field Manual. He helped produce our ONLINE Video Workshops. He’s a trusted colleague and friend.

His participation in this most recent event was a highlight for all. Participants loved the information Bruce brought to the table. He helped me answer students’ questions about what they do with their videos once they are finished making them. This video is just a snapshot of the kind of material that Bruce covered.

On the last day of the workshop I showed students the Internet presence that I had built, in accordance with much of what Bruce discussed during our workshop. It was because of that Internet presence that the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association had found me on the Internet and asked me to come to Thailand in the first place. So the system really works.

This last workshop was a deeply gratifying experience. Students learned a new language. The visual storytelling language is universal. They learned how to make powerful, compelling videos. They learned how to Raise Their Voices with those videos. And they learned how to be heard, to have an impact, and to promote change.

They learned how to establish their presence on the Internet, using the videos they produced during our event. And they learned how to create community, to connect with other communities, to cultivate these communities, and to join the international dialogue about issues that are important to them, their families, their communities and the country they live in.
This is what I teach in my ONLINE Video Journalism Workshops (see and in my LIVE workshops (see

Creating Simple Promotional Videos Using Your Smartphone

This past Wednesday the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup held a meetup on how to make simple promotional videos using your smartphone or whatever camera you have in your pocket. We had a great session and our goal was to have at least 5 participants make a simple video using a basic formula based off of the Frank Kern marketing model.

This is who I am
This is what I have got or offer
This is what it will do
This is what I want you to do next.

It was a lot of fun and we had some learning. One of our regular participants, Tom Beach of, offered to video tape the session which was super cool. Also check out our previous post for the free pdf handout of 12 Tips for setting up your YouTube Channel and your video.

Be sure to sign up over on the right for additional marketing handouts and information.

By Bruce Jones

15 Favorite Social Media Tips, PodCast

Just recorded my first podcast using GarageBand and SoundCloud, it went pretty easy. The podcast was a list of my favorite social media tips.

I also posted it on Google+ and that works really well. This embed code looks a little strange with that big face going on, but see if I can fix it. Below are the tips from the podcast

Bruce’s Social Media Tips, How I Use Social Media
• Connect yourself to the popular social media platforms, Google and Google+, Linkedin, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. Along with your website/blog

• Make sure you have filled in all of the profile and settings boxes on all of your social media platforms. Including a profile picture. Make sure the information is consistent across all platforms.

• Cross link each platform as much as you can to the other platforms, share your content

• Post content on a regular basis on your blog or on a social media platform. Once you post, re-post or share on all of the other platforms. At least once a month preferable once a week.

• Figure out where your audience hangs out and release content in their mode. It may be different for different people. Get in front of your audience.

• Build an email list, it is all in the list, have a give away to thank people for signing up, set up an auto responder series, include a follow up survey or question email to poll your audience.

• Make sure there are clear channels of communication from your social media back to your home website or blog and then clear channels to you. Don’t hide behind your website, be open for connecting.

• Get involved in special interest groups and build connections and participate. Facebook and Linkedin are both good for this.

• Answer and reply to all posts and comments if you can

• I am an active member in FaceBook groups, answering questions, posting. Liking. Teaching if I see something that might help the members.

• FaceBook works best for me as an outgoing, engaging platform. I use it to establish leadership positions, involvement and connections.

• YouTube works to bring traffic into my sites, you must participate in the comments to make it work. Google rewards you for this

• Try to bring people over to your main website and bring them into your mailing list.

• Social media is for building fans and leads and getting them into your email list where you can nurture them into prospects and clients

Google+, What It Is and How it Works

By Bruce Jones
I recently gave a presentation to the Legal Marketing Association/New England (LMA), Social Media Group on what is Google+ and how does it work to enhance and build out your social media presence. It went pretty well, and was well received.

I have to admit I started out not really caring much about Google+ because I didn’t really understand it or how it works. After doing all the research to prepare for the presentation I have flipped around 180 degrees on my opinion. It is very powerful and offers a lot of tools to help advance your social media efforts.

I had a nice comment on the presentation from one of the participants

Thanks for sharing these slides!
Your presentation was great and has challenged me to become active on Google+!

For the presentation I also put together a document with all of my notes and some resources that goes along with the presentation. Feel free to download the notes.

Why Google Presentation Bruce Jones

How to Market Your Books or Interests Using a Facebook Event

By Bruce Jones

On Friday I virtually attended a very interesting web based event run by Bryan Cohen of Bryan ran an event on his website and on Facebook for 15 authors that wrote books on how to write and market your writing. What Brian did was connect with about 30 authors and ended up with a list of 15. He then put all 15 author’s books together on a page on his site, wrote a short blurb and set up a connection for each to their sales page on Each author also dropped the price of their book to $.99 for the event. He called the event March to a Bestseller, A One Day Sale On Books for Authors,

Website book page for the March to Bestseller event, each book links to Amazon

Website book page for the March to Bestseller event, each book links to Amazon

Next he set up a Facebook event that ran for the entire day. The goal of the event was that you could meet and post questions to the authors or reply to questions being posted. You could connect with the authors and participants. It was kind of like a mini conference but held on line. Each author also spent several hours on Facebook answering questions. You can see the Facebook event page here, March to a Bestseller, A One Day Sale On Books for Authors.  I found out about this event from one of the participants, writer Steve Scott of who I follow. Each author also sent out email notices to their followers about the event and what time they would be on-line. Looking at the FB page, 2,719 people were also invited, which I am assuming is from Facebook, with 647 people going to the event. Bryan featured each book during the day and also had questions for the authors that he had ready to spark discussions.

Facebook Event page for the March to a Bestseller Event

Facebook Event page for the March to a Bestseller Event

One of the questions I asked Bryan was if he had noted the Amazon sales rank of each book before starting and then after to see if it resulted in increased sales and rank. A number of the authors responded on Facebook and commented that their ranking and sales were jumping. This was a very cool event to watch and really opens up a great way to build awareness and community along with sales using a FaceBook Event and you website. From what he said it took him about 3 weeks to connect with each author and set everything up. It also gives you a strong message about the importance of building your email list and connections both with your followers and with other people in your community. The power of numbers. From an outsiders point of view I think this was a great success. It held my attention during the day. I bought a book and signed up on several of the authors websites. I think this kind of thing could be easily duplicated in any industry or group.

Followup for the FaceBook Book Event
Here is a follow up post by Bryan on the result of the Facebook book event, a great success by all accounts.
• 640 attendees
• 360-616 clicks on each book, over 6,000 clicks total (wow)
• 1,200 unique visits to his site
You can read all the details at

Tips on Creating Content by Jeff Cutler from the Boston Media Makers meetup

Jeff Cutler showing his big and small camera bags that he takes into the field

Jeff Cutler showing his big and small camera bags that he takes into the field




Today I attended an excellent Boston Media Makers, #BMM meetup at Doyles in Jamaica Plain hosted by Steve Garfield. These meetups are held the first Sunday of every month at 10:00-12:00. Today it rained like crazy so only about 12-15 people came by but it was excellent. Today was a little different also because we had a presentation by Jeff Cutler the social media journalist on Backpack Journalism and creating content. Jeff showed his gear both the big bag and his shoulder bag. Going off to do a story these day is often a technology challenge for the reporter. They have to carry a camera, do audio, write in the field and upload everything to some place.

Jeff showed us his favorite bag for hauling all his camera gear and computer along with giving us a list of tips to follow. The big camera bag is from ThinkTankPhoto and will fit in any airplane overhead storage bin. It was called the Airport Essentials I think, there are several.

Tips for creating content:

  • Know your audience
  • Know yourself
  • Know what is going on around you, follow social media, and feeds from your favorite sites
  • Knowing what is going on around you will allow you to make derivative stories, I call this go wide with your stories. Don’t stay on one topic
  • Know your capabilities
  • Know your passions, what do you like and don’t like
  • Know your market if you want to make money
  • Know how you want to share your material and where it should be.

You can learn more about Jeff at
Boston Media makers is located at Garfield is at, Steve also has an excellent gear list for doing live video at this site.

Week 2: Elevator Speech, Write it Out and Add to Your Blog

Week 2, Elevator Speech, For this weeks blog assignment I want you to write out your business or personal elevator speech.

Your elevator speech is that short 15-30 second story about you or your business. You should be able to cover all the essentials in the time it takes to ride an elevator to the top floor. There should be an introduction, then several key points and then a close.

Parts of an elevator speech
1. Introduction
2. Body, 3 points
3. Conclusion, wrap up
4. Close or call to action

Think about the services or features that you deliver and the benefits to your clients of working with you. Give a conclusion and then a close. If appropriate you could add in a call to action, but don’t get too overbearing. Remember, benefits are those things you offer that your client doesn’t have but needs.

I sometimes also describe your elevator speech as what you say to someone you bump into on the street or at a conference. You haven’t seen them for a long time and you are both hurrying in the opposite direction but you want to let them know what you do.

You want to make sure you get out the who, what, where, why and how of your business.

Practice this speech until it rolls off your tongue. The elevator speech is also used in the about or summary boxes on services like Linkedin, on your Facebook fan page or on your blog.

This weeks assignment is from my newest book “52 Ideas to Inspire your Business Blog” where we ask you a weekly question to spark your blogging creativity, available at

Week 2: Write and Post Your Business Elevator Speech

Week 2: Write and Post Your Business Elevator Speech

How to Self-Publish Your Book: Publishing 3.0

I just read an excellent article on by James Altucher called How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0. Altucher walks the reader through how he published his latest book, Choose Yourself! and turned it into a bestseller. This is his 11th book and he writes about how a self-published book is the new business card. I also like his definition of this new term Publishing 3.0

  • 1.0 is the old way, using a traditional publisher
  • 2.0 was the early days of self-publishing and into today, we could lump vanity presses into this area. Do you know that there were 15,000,000 million books published last year, almost all of them self-published.
  • 3.0 is self-publishing today, with better editing, design, distribution everywhere, better marketing, and doing it independently. Hiring all the services that used to be supplied by the publishing houses.
52 Blog Ideas for Your Business

52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blogging. Now Available on

James Altucher walks us through all the steps, how he did it, what it cost, and what happen. The article is excellent and pretty much covers all sides. I recommend reading it, some excellent lessons. My major issue with the article is that Altucher has a lot of money, or at least spends a lot of money to bring his book to market. He spent around $31,000 to sell 44,294 copies. He spent the money on editing, design, marketing, promotion. That is cool if you have it. I also have published a lot of books, I am about to release my 21st book, 52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blog. I have also had some Amazon category bestsellers, never a big time bestseller but some category ones. I don’t sell anywhere near his numbers but I am pretty pleased with my results so far.

How I Publish My Books
What I thought I would do is break down Altucher’s article subject by subject and tell you how I do it. Some of my lessons and results. I am a huge fan of self-publishing. I have all kinds of books; music chord books for guitar, mandolin, ukulele and banjo, geography text books, map coloring books, business books, fun kids coloring books, picture books and my new blog book. Most of my books are published using which is the  print-on-demand side of I don’t spend anywhere what he does to bring my books to market, so I thought I would share.

I agree with James’ self-publishing benefits; more money, royalties are way higher, control over design, speed, content control, and no one can say no.

The Keys to Publishing Your Book
1. Build Your Platform

Free US and World

This is key today, you need to have a following. Your followers are your platform. They are your fans, your customers, your followers. Build out your Facebook fans, set up websites for all your book categories, Pinterest pages for each book, set up a blog, Twitter, whatever your do, build out your platform and keep engaged with it. For two of my categories I have websites where I highlight the pages from the books, give away samples, build out related products. On, my music site, I put up a web page for every page in the book. I make it easy for people to find and download, I describe every graphic on the page and in alt tags. Along the side I run ads for my books that link directly to Not everyone is going to buy, but I reward every visitor with the information they were looking for. I also do the same thing on for my World of Maps clip art.

2. How Do You Build Your Platform?
Your platform are all the places and people who follow you. Your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email list, your YouTube subscribers. Everyone that you have the ability to connect with. Publishers really like all these people because they are your first line of buyers. Marketing isn’t just one effort, it is a continual effort to build a fan base and a lot of followers for the things you say and do.

3. Write
Some people write a certain number of words a day or number pages a day. What I do is try to just chip away at my projects. I have learned even small amounts like 20 minutes a day adds up and before you know it you have completed your project. I try to work on my writing projects between 8:00 and 9:00 am every morning before I go to work. I am happy if I get a solid 25 minutes. The other thing I do is schedule what I call “A Day of Thinking” I go off and just think or write for a day. I also love writing on airplanes. I find it a great place to write, no one bothers you. You have a fixed time to work and you can be really focused. I will often set up projects for myself to work on if I know I will be flying. One of the big keys that I have found to success is having fixed chunks of time. 30 minutes in the morning, 3 hours on a plane, 5 hours sitting in a coffee shop. I wrote the first draft of my new blog book sitting in the coffee shop in the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego while I waited for my plane. Having a stop time makes the go time much easier to manage. I told the wait staff to just keep bringing me food. They got a nice tip and I hand wrote the first draft of the book.

If you want to learn the basics of producing books quickly I would check out Daniel Hall’s Real Fast Book course. Click Here to Visit the Site. I took this course when I start writing books and it really helped me to speed up and understand a lot of the basics. Daniel takes the point of view of a non-graphic designer which is great. He leads you through each step of the process of getting your books up on Kindle. I recommend this product as a great way to get started. Also see my recommendation in the section 7 below on making Audio books.

4. Know What You Want
James Altucher writes about knowing what you want to ultimately do with your book. What is its purpose? Once you know that you can then determine how much work and money you want to put into it . Don’t spend a ton of money making the book if you are just going to publish it using a quick print shop. Most of my books are produced as print-on-demand through CreateSpace/Amazon. I am not after the book store market. I am not building a large distribution system. I just like writing and publishing and CreateSpace works just fine.

My next world to conquer is getting all my books up on Kindle. The average book doesn’t sell over 150 copies in its lifetime. Hard to believe but that is true. What that tells me is, don’t go crazy spending a lot of money, you will never get it back. But what I do know is that most of my books sell copies every month. My best sellers sell 40-50 copies a month and my worst sell 1-2, and lots in between. I can make nice short 30-70 page books, get them up on Amazon, do a little promotion using free social media sites and make some money. I currently make $5-600/month selling my books and it just continues to grow. It is very steady and very cool. Update for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 in royalties, cool.

5. Editing
Altucher hired a professional editor. I agree, having an editor makes a huge difference to your book. I am amazed how many things my editor found that I never saw. You don’t have to go crazy on this, in fact I used my sister who is a former reporter and a freelance writer/editor. Someone needs to look at your book. Editors are also available on outsourcing services like or Also take a look at the included editing/design packages that most of the print-on-demand services use.

I also recommend for your own writing process, write today and edit tomorrow. Your writing will move along much faster if you don’t try to edit while your write. Giving your writing a little breathing space will really help.

6. Design
A professional designer makes a big difference. My day job is being a graphic designer so I am able to handle my own book covers and interiors. But just like for editing you want someone to handle the design and also the preparing of the files. I design my books using the Adobe Suite of products, InDesign, PhotoShop and Illustrator. I write in MS Word and Evernote. These are the standard programs design, layout and writing. Remember books have front and back covers so you need one of each.

If money is a concern you have some nice options, you can use outsourcing services like Designers all over the planet will bid on your interiors and covers and give you some great options. Also each of the print-on-demand services have both templates that you can use or relationships with designers and set packages.

We get caught up in the cover designs but don’t forget the interior. If you are releasing a print book the inside of the book also needs to be designed and produced. CreateSpace and the others take a pdf file. These files can be created very easily from the page layout programs like InDesign and also from word processing programs like MS Word. Either way you will need a file. If you are doing a Kindle ebook or Nook/iBook epub book these will also need to be set up in a program like MS Word. A great trend that is starting to happen is that you can build your book right on line. Kobo the international epub reader now has a site called Kobo Writing Life that lets you assemble the books live. I think this will be the trend of the future, it will make producing a book just so much easier.

Along with the cover you want to make sure you also have the designer give you cover graphics in a variety of sizes for your blog, social media, Pinterest, Facebook etc. pages. The success of being an author these days is going to be about how well you manage your social media and on-line presence.

Here is a really important thing to keep in mind. Most books these days are sold on Amazon. Most books are marketed with a book cover the size of a thumbnail. The covers are very small and will be mixed in with many other small covers. Your book title needs to read when the cover is about 1.5 inches wide. Make sure you view your cover design tiny to make sure you can still read the title.

7. Audio Book
Well yes, we need this. People travel a lot these days and many of them listen to audio books and podcasts in their cars. They aren’t that hard to do, the script is already done, basically you just read your book. For distribution you can use a service like CreateSpace. Not only do they do print books, they also host audio books and streaming video. You can use programs like Garage Band that comes with every Macintosh computer, or applications like Audacity. Audacity which is a free, open source, cross-platform audio recording and editing program for audio. It is very popular and has everything you pretty much need. You will also need to download the mp3 module. What I understand is that it best to record the book in chapters and then upload them to CreateSpace along with a cover graphic. (see Design above) I will be working on my own audio version of 52 Ideas to Inspire Your Business Blog so I will be able to give a lot more info on the process.

Real Fast Audio Book Course

Course for learning how to make audio books

If you want to learn more about how to produce audio books, check out Daniel Hall’s Real Fast Audio Book course. I have done several of Dan’s courses and he leads you very clearly through all the steps. Nice and simple.

8. Title
Titles are super important for blog post, email subject lines, videos and books. People need to be able to figure out what your book is about. Titles and subtitles are key. Don’t fall in love with the working title. We all have a working title for our books when we are writing them. We might have them for a long time and we forget that while we know what our book is about, our readers don’t. Spend some time on the title. A great exercise is to drop your book title into the Google and Amazon search boxes and see what comes up. Do books similar to yours come up or something completely different. Watch the words that appear as you type the title into the search box. This is instant search and it can be very helpful to see how people phrase things. Some great key words will appear. Look at the example below and how close it comes to my new book title.

Google Instant Search

Relevant words drop down as you type in the Google or Amazon search box

I also really like the suggestion that Altucher mentioned in his post. He used Facebook ads to see what people clicked on. On my current book I posted a question on 4 different Facebook group pages that I am in with about 4,000 people to ask for help with my title. I gave them 5 different titles and subtitles and ask to everyone to pick one or make corrections. I had a great answer within 2 minutes of posting on the subtitle. The person just flipped a couple of words around and fix a big problem. I have also used this technique for picking cover designs. I put up an A and B option and let people select. This alone is a great reason to be active on Facebook, fantastic resource. Remember how people perceive your book has a huge impact on its success.

9. Marketing
We are back to the Platform again. Remember your Platform is all of the places where you have expose to your fans and followers. Your email list, blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads etc. This is where you connect and let people know about your book and hopefully they will buy. I use websites to highlight the content of the book and then wrap ads around the edges with direct connections to Books can be stand alone things or part of an entire package. On my current book, 52 Ideas, I am planning a series of videos that are mentioned in the book as bonuses but also sit on YouTube and will drive traffic to the book webpage and to Amazon.

Writing the book is just the beginning, success takes a plan and constant effort. An idea I hadn’t ever thought of for this current book was the one mention by Altucher. Set up a SlideShare presentation. is kind of like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. You can load your presentation up and it gets distributed to the world. My book is a business book, SlideShare is a business site, what a great idea. I just need to take each of the 52 ideas, drop them on a slide, add a footer with a picture of the cover, drop in some calls to action and people will be able to view it.

Every book these days needs several videos on YouTube. Don’t go crazy, just talk about the book and what benefits it brings to the reader. I even saw one author that read chapters from his book right into the video camera and put those up. Check out Don Georgevich’s YouTube channel, and look at some of his older videos. It really is quite amazing and such a simple way of marketing a book. Remember to have a live link back to your website as the first word in the video description and drop as much of the book’s text into the description area as you can.

You can do a virtual book tour with other similar blogs that you have set up relationships with and do guest posts or video interviews based on your book. A great resource for how to do a virtual book tour is D’vorah Lansky and her 

10. Foreign Rights
I don’t know really anything about foreign rights but I do know that selling on Amazon or Kobo or Nook is selling to the world. These are global platforms. Remember Act Local Think Global. I sell a lot of books in England and ebooks sell everywhere and more countries all the time. I always take the full distribution package in CreateSpace. It is only $25.00 for full exposure. How can you beat that. My websites pull in visitors from all over the planet. Don’t just rely on a single listing on Amazon, be everywhere. You can set up your own sales page on your own website, I model mine off of Amazon. Have one link to Amazon, have another link to the other ebook sites like Kobo and Nook. Have a link for a pdf version, use a site like or to sell your book. Have all versions available all the time. Here is an example of how I set up one of mine. I show the book, have specs, do a video, have related books, show examples. I just copies Amazon. They pay big bucks to figure this out, why not use their knowledge.

61 Ways to Market a Book

An excellent book to help with your online marketing

An excellent book to help you market your nonfiction Kindle book is 61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books by Steve Scott, it is available at and contains many excellent tips on what to do. Especially helpful are his 10 Pillars of a Rock-Solid Kindle Business (Strategies 1-10). I would use a lot of this book to help with fiction books also.

11. Other Merchandise
This is a cool one. You have written your book, what else can you do with it. On my music book site I take the art from the book and upload it sites like and and made t-shirts, mugs, clocks, pillows, iPad cases, waterbottles. On Cafepress I have over 50 products for each illustration. On Zazzle I made information posters from the music chord charts from my book Essential Chords for Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele and Banjo book. All of these sites are actually print-on-demand sites but instead of printing on paper they are printing on physical products. I am not getting rich doing this but it all contributes to the mix.

12. The Numbers
Ok so how much can you make writing and publishing books. I think it can be from nothing to millions. But generally it seems to add some extra thousands to your pocketbook. The average book doesn’t sell over 150 copies in its life time. So what does this mean, it means that you need to make lots of different kinds of books until you figure out what works. Don’t just do one book. Even if you are doing one big book, release it in smaller pieces. Instead of one 500 page book, how about 5, one hundred page books and then a compilation book with all five. Now you have 6 books and 6 times more ability to attract a reader.

The average book distributed by a traditional publisher pays about $.70 for each sale to the writer. Most writers make most of their money from the advance. These days this is getting harder and harder. My books on CreateSpace make about $2.50-$3.50 per book and I don’t have to chase anyone for the money. I also retain full rights to the books and can do anything I want with them. Make an audio version, a video version, pull out the art and slap it on waterbottles. How about make a simple version and a deluxe version. and ebook version, it just goes on and on. I am a huge fan of but you should also check out and Both sites are excellent and have options that CreateSpace doesn’t have such as hard cover and super high quality photo printing.

I currently sell about 200 books a month spread over 20 different books. Some books sell 40 a month and some sell 1. No one tells me I can’t publish a book. Sometimes the odd ball book is the best seller. My books pull in about $500-700/month. They just continue to grow and grow, slowly but continually. I have many more books coming. Below is my sales report for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 in royalties, US, England and Europe. All paperback.

CreateSpace July Report

CreateSpace Sales Report for July 2013, 235 books sold, over $700 revenue

My cost for most books is basically just time and the $25 I spend for the expanded distribution on CreateSpace. I am lucky, I am a graphic designer so I don’t have to hire someone like me. I choose CreateSpace’s ISBN numbers, at this point I really don’t care, I just want to sell books. I don’t worry about books stores at all though occasionally one will call and I ship them 10-20 copies. Book stores don’t really like print-on-demand books because you can’t return them. I give the stores a really good price and they never come back. You can see all my books on my book page here on the blog.

I do run several websites with my books featured on them. I did the html programing in Dreamweaver myself, learning how from YouTube videos. I am a huge fan of doing this, you have to promote your books. Working with Amazon is excellent. They take care of everything, selling, hosting, printing, shipping, and dropping the money into my bank account every month. My job is getting customer to my book pages. If I had to do all the selling stuff it would never happen. It is amazing that you can just upload a pdf file and be selling everywhere.

Ok enough for now, the article by James Altucher on making his books How to Self-Publish A Bestseller: Publishing 3.0 is excellent, I highly recommend reading it. It is just one of many ways to bring your books to market. I hope I have been able to show you another.

I would love your comments and thoughts and if you liked this article I would love a like on my Bruce Jones Design Facebook page. See this is called building your platform.


Reaching Out to the World with Your Content, Documenting Social Injustice, Documenting Social Injustice

We received this wonderful email this morning from in reference to one of our Africa maps that I have on my site On my free map site I put up jpg versions of all of my editable PowerPoint and Adobe Illustrator maps. This give me exposure to the world and helps get my products out there. Along the sides I drop in ads for my pay maps and books. This has been very successful and a lot of fun. A great way to gain exposure.

One of the things I do is let people use the free maps in their projects, in fact I encourage it. Not everyone is going to buy a map but many people need a map. I also drop all of my credit info on each graphic with that hope that some of the free will turn into pay or gain me some exposure. And sometimes I just get to be in some cool projects like

This morning I received this email from David Stuart who is the editor at, how could I say no.

Dear Bruce Jones,

I am writing to request royalty free us of a political map of Africa that bears your Copyright 2011. I found it here:

The desired use is in a photo essay “Condemned: Mental Health in Countries in Crisis in Africa” by photojournalist Robin Hammond, which received the 2013 FotoEvidence Book Award. The award involves the publication of 500 copies of his book which will be published in October by FotoEvidence. Our books are printed in high quality, on a Heidelberg press, in Istanbul, Turkey.  The Book Award operates at a loss and really represents a grant to the photographer.

Our designer would add the names of 9 countries in which Robin Hammond photographed the plight of the mentally ill over a period of 7 years.  We would, of course, credit the map to you on the credits page of the book.

FotoEvidence is a platform for documentary photographers whose work focuses on social justice and human rights.  The book award is judged by a renown international jury of photographers and photo editors.   You can see some of the work to be included in the book and the other type of work we publish at

Thank you for taking the time to consider my request.

David Stuart

Hi highly recommend that you check out and the work they are doing